PHP is a scripting language that was first introduced in 1995. With PHP 3, the entire program core was revised, and the foundation stone laid for today's versions. Another vital version was created with PHP 5.

The first version of PHP 5 was released in the summer of 2004. PHP 5 brought not only performance improvements, but also some enhancements. However, PHP 5 has also achieved some milestones within its original version. A version with many changes and, above all, extensions was version 5.3. To date, PHP 5 is used on a variety of servers. The latest version of PHP 5 is PHP 5.6. Active support for PHP 5.6 has been discontinued since the beginning of 2017, but security updates are still published at irregular intervals.

PHP 5 is the successor to PHP 5, the first version published at the end of 2015. PHP 6 was initially planned as the successor to PHP 5, which should replace PHP 5 relatively quickly. However, due to implementation problems, development was stopped in 2010. In 2014 it was decided that PHP 7 should become the new successor to PHP 5. The support of PHP 7 with the hosting providers has increased steadily and has become very high in the meantime. However, some providers offer the possibility to choose between PHP 5 and PHP 7.

Underlying Changes From PHP 5 to PHP 7

Changes to PHP functions, at least those that are directly visible to the user, were hardly made between versions PHP 5 and PHP 7. The few small changes that were made can be found in the official migration documentation from PHP. However, as already mentioned, these are usually not important even for advanced PHP programmers.
By changing PHP's implementation, including the PHP core, PHP 7 offers us a significantly improved runtime (sometimes up to over 100%) and a reduced need for storage space.

What are the advantages of PHP 7?

Upgrading to PHP 7 will not only make your website more secure, but also significantly faster. PHP operations require fewer resources, especially the CPU processing power, which can be substantially reduced. At the same time, the new version is more economical in memory consumption. This allows double the number of operations to be performed while maintaining server performance. This is noticeable in your website's loading time and, therefore, also has a positive effect on your Google ranking.

PHP 7 Significantly Improves the Performance of WordPress

The foundation for the improved PHP7 performance was created by integrating the branch version PHPNG (PHP Next Generation) into the main PHP version. The branch started as a project is characterized above all by a refactored core, including the new Zend Engine 3.0. Even before the PHP7 release, Zend Technologies announced the results of the first benchmark tests. The advantages of the latest version for e-shop solutions, content management systems or frameworks are all too apparent when you hire PHP developer.

The Magento shop software, for example, can be executed twice as fast as PHP5.6 - with a reduction in memory consumption of around 30 percent. PHP7 also enables up to three times as many user calls as the previous version at the same time. The results of the tests with the content management systems Drupal and WordPress look similar: While Drupal 8 runs about 72 percent faster, the WordPress tests showed that a call with PHP7 compared to one with PHP5.6 only requires about a quarter of the CPU instructions. Both CMS systems showed an increase of around 50 percent in terms of possible page views. Also, the Laravel and Zend frameworks and the CRM software SugarCRM with PHP7 allow about twice as many accesses per second.

Compared to the previous version, PHP7 enables low access and loading times, even with high traffic. An expensive hardware upgrade is not necessary, even with increasing visitor numbers. The new PHP7 performance allows you to make your WordPress, Magento, or another web project accessible to a more significant number of visitors without additional costs.


Every PHP version is updated and updated for two years after its release, after which it is over. Nevertheless, most small and medium-sized web services still run on outdated versions, such as PHP 5.2. Despite careful maintenance, these old versions have one or two security vulnerabilities, which are well documented due to the software's age. This fact makes outdated software so easy to attack.


The current version PHP 7 not only closes a whole series of sometimes serious security gaps, but also offers significant speed advantages through the new interpreter PHPNG, which are the basis for higher performance, better hardware utilization and thus severe cost savings. Large websites show it. Services such as Badoo, Tumblr, or Etsy were able to significantly increase your speed by upgrading to PHP 7 and, at the same time, massively reduce server costs.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Brewer is technology consultant in a leading enterprise mobile & web application development company specializing in mobile & web applications, IoT, cloud and big data services.